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Return of Michaela Loebel lifts Geneva past Andrew

Return of Michaela Loebel lifts Geneva past Andrew

Originally posted on The Beacon News by Phil Brozynski

Michaela Loebel is back on the court for Geneva, and no one is happier than Sidney Santos. 

“It’s astonishing how much one person can make a difference,” Santos said. 

Santos, who was forced to play the point last year when Loebel went down with an ACL injury, celebrated her return to the shooting guard position with 24 points to lead No. 15 Geneva to a 61-40 victory over Andrew in the first round of the Rachel Bach Tournament at Glenbard East. 

Santos was 6-of-8 from three-point range, including three threes in the first quarter, as Geneva (1-0) opened a 16-2 lead. About the only place Santos struggled was at the free-throw line, where the normally reliable 6-foot-1 senior was just 2-of-6. 

“It was all mental.” Santos said. “You miss one and it gets in your head. You miss another and it gets even more in your head. My three-point shooting was just the opposite. I was feeling really confident about it.” 

Geneva’s confidence should soar this season with Loebel back on the floor. The 5-9 senior had six points, five steals, five rebounds and four assists. 

“It feels so good to be back,” Loebel said. “I had two months of playing AAU basketball this summer, but it wasn’t until open gym in the fall that I really started feeling completely back. In this game, it’s almost like I feel like I never tore my ACL. The comfortability with my knee is so much better.” 

Geneva did not let Andrew (0-1) get comfortable early, applying a diamond press before falling back into a 2-3 zone while building its early lead. But foul trouble and back-to-back treys by Andrew’s 6 Molly Franson that cut the lead to 18-13 forced Geneva to go into a man-to-man defense. 

“We have a lot of new faces in a lot of places,” Andrew coach Bobby Matz said. “We know it’s going to take some time for this team to develop that on-the-court chemistry. You could see that especially in the first quarter.“

At the five-minute mark, we were down 11. By halftime, we were down just six or seven. But it doesn’t help when you play a team as solid as that team is right there (Geneva). We can learn from a lot of things we did well and a lot things we can do better.” 

A 16-5 spurt to begin the second half gave Geneva a 46-28 lead with 3:15 left in the third quarter and Andrew never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way. 

Morgan Seberger had 11 points and Abby Novak added seven points and nine rebounds for Geneva. Franson led Andrew with 16 points and junior Michelle Borgen added nine. 

“It was so good to see Michaela play so great,” Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. “We really missed her last year. She brings so much. She really holds us together on the defensive end and on the offensive end. She brings so much energy.” 

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